When you’ve worked for ten years and spent more than a billion and a half dollars and you STILL don’t have even a plan for your new bomb plan, let alone your new bomb plant, you celebrate small things. Very small things.
In Oak Ridge, on Friday, March 13, the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration slipped into the Y12 Nuclear Weapons Complex for a private party with a Congressman and some other federal officials to celebrate the completion of a pre-site-preparation haul road that NNSA thinks will eventually connect the concrete plant with the UPF. They spent tens of millions of dollars on the road. In the process of building the road, they uncovered a radioactive waste field which they have still not told the public the truth about—OREPA filed a Freedom of Information Act request a year ago, asking about the extent and nature of contamination, any worker exposures, what happened to the radioactive debris, but we have yet to get a single piece of information.
The idea of a party to celebrate a facility to make weapons of mass destruction struck us as, well, obscene.
It would be like having a party to celebrate laying the final length of track into Auschwitz. The moral difference between the two—both facilities designed for the expressed purpose of enabling the mass extermination of human beings in pursuit of a political/military agenda—is slight. It was Kathy Boylan who testified in federal court in Knoxville that the US does not import people into death camps to kill them; our mass extermination death camps are built to be launched at our enemies. It may seem unlikely that our nuclear death camps would target a social group in the interest of a horrific vision of purity, but it is also unlikely that the effects of our nuclear death camps would be limited in time and space—the cloud of radioactive fallout would be dispersed across a wide area, killing not only our target, but everyone and everything that was in its path, humans, birds, animals, insects.
And this we celebrate?
So OREPA decided to at least dampen the festivities, and we gathered along the road at the entrance to the bomb plant. Our goal was to counter any PR attempt with the money-wasting, life-destroying truth about the UPF. We took up our posts in the rain and stood vigil for nearly two hours. Local media amplified our message in print and on TV.
For officials who blind—or maybe numb—themselves to the reality of the UPF, it may have been business as usual. For us, it was important to witness to the truth.